Davis Cup: Paes dedicates world record to India
New Delhi: A 16-year-old boy who began his Davis Cup journey in 1990, baptised with fire, has perched himself on a pedestal from where it will require a superhuman effort to displace him. He is 44 now, with a world record 43 doubles wins in Davis Cup to his credit.
His contemporaries and even those who started their careers long after him have hung their racquets but Leander Paes continues to "re-invent" his game and add power in his legs to pull India through.
He did it today again and in the process earned a win which made him the most successful doubles player in the history of Davis Cup.
Serving at 5-6 in the decisive third set, he was down 0-30 -- two points away from a defeat which would have embarrassed the nation -- but he logged four points in a row to keep India in hunt and eventually, in the company of Rohan Bopanna, sealed the much-needed win.
It inspired the youngsters to produce reverse singles wins and in the end India was rejoicing a memorable win.
"What a fabulous motivation. It is great to achieve the world record. I dedicate this record to my father, my parents, my daughter Aiyana, to every single Davis Captain I had had and to every singles Davis Cup doubles partner I had and this world record belongs to India," Paes said after his historic win.
"I am so proud of being son of the soil and playing so long. Many many hard years of efforts, lots of ups and downs. I had to be very resilient," he said, reflecting on his journey.
He is already the most decorated Indian tennis players with 18 Grand Slam titles. He has been showered with encomiums since he began his incredible journey and the honours of Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan fittingly came his way.
He has pulled off some incredible victories but struggled to qualify this record and what this means to him.